Umm el-Fahm Mayor resigns, un-resigns two hours later after condolences controversy

Umm el-Fahm Mayor Samir Mahamid, who issued a condemnation of the terror attacks, was met with irate commenters and overall rage from the Israeli public for his condolences.

 Border Police officers carry the coffin of their comrade Shirel Aboukrat, who was killed in a terror attack in Hadera on March 27, 2022. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Border Police officers carry the coffin of their comrade Shirel Aboukrat, who was killed in a terror attack in Hadera on March 27, 2022.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Umm el-Fahm Mayor Samir Mahamid resigned from his post on Thursday — only to reverse course and un-resign two hours later — after Mahamid offered the family of the Hadera terrorist condolences on Facebook and was rebuked for his apparent sympathies for terrorists, according to Israeli media.

"In my name and on behalf of my friends and employees of the municipality, we send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of Yosef Rushdie following the deaths of Ayman Agbaria and Ibrahim Agbaria," read Mahamid’s Thursday Facebook post. The post was deleted less than an hour after it was posted.

Mahamid, who had issued a statement on Monday condemning the terror attacks, was met with irate commenters and overall rage from the Israeli public. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked directed her ministry to order the deletion of the post.

"It is inconceivable that a municipality in the State of Israel would console families of terrorists. This is a serious and shameful post and it is good that it has been deleted," Shaked said, adding that the ministry "will continue to show zero tolerance for supporting terrorism on social networks and in general.”

Amid the backlash, Mahamid decided to abruptly resign on KAN 11’s live TV news broadcast on Thursday evening at 8:00 PM — merely a few hours after the Facebook post was originally published — saying that he was "leaving the job in a lot of pain because I came to contribute."

 Israeli security forces in Umm al-Fahm to quell riots after a murder took place in the city on Thursday, November 2, 2021.  (credit: ISRAEL POLICE) Israeli security forces in Umm al-Fahm to quell riots after a murder took place in the city on Thursday, November 2, 2021. (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

After reaffirming his resignation as “final” just an hour later, Mahamid reversed course at 10:00 p.m. — just two hours after his resignation.

"I thank you for your support, I will not resign," said Mahamid after local authorities arrived together with residents to visit him. "There is no resignation, you do not decide, we are all with you," they said — and Mahamid affirmed their wishes, deciding to stay on as mayor.

Umm el-Fahm’s municipal government later clarified Mahamid’s Facebook post, explaining that "the post went up on the municipality's Facebook without permission and not in the opinion of the mayor, or any of the municipality's senior officials. This is a serious mistake of an employee and we apologize for it — the issue will be investigated.”

Mahamid is the mayor of Israel’s third-largest Arab majority city (after Nazareth and Rahat). He has threatened to resign previously, saying in January 2021 that he would resign if Israel did not increase efforts to combat Arab violence. He did not follow up on his threat to resign at the time.